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Thread: Facebook Age Limit

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    Default Facebook Age Limit

    Can anyone tell me why Facebook set the age restriction to 13yrs and older. Is there some legislation and whats the limit on other sites?

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    I really don't know, but it sounds like they're going for a PG-13 (Motion Picture Association of America film rating system) sort of rating. This may be at the dictates of some law, more likely their minimum age target audience and what they're willing to self police in order to comply with. For those not in the know, PG-13 is minimum age 13, Parental Guidance Suggested.
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    Do many American kids join it under age?

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    13 is Facebook and myspace, not sure about other sites you can probably find them in their TOS's. I think the limitations is just a way for them limit their liability somewhat.


    http://www.nbc33tv.com/news/age-limit-facebook


    Stacy Arruda from the FBI's Cyber Crimes Division:
    Why would you want to expose your child to any potential danger...By allowing your child to have a social networking page, I don't care what security you have at your house, you've punched a huge hole in the side of your house and you're allowing predators into your home
    She later states that she thinks anyone under 18 is too young.
    Corrections to my coding/thoughts welcome.

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    It's a law in the US. I don't know about other countries.

    http://www.coppa.org/
    http://www.ftc.gov/privacy/coppafaqs.shtm

    Basically, the legal age for registration is 13 and anyone under 13 must have permission from their parents, often by using a COPPA form offered at registration. Specifically, this refers to collecting personal information, so simply have visitors who are under 13 is not a problem, but it becomes one once you collect personal information-- review the sites above to learn the details, but that might be as general as an email address (or even username?).

    So facebook and myspace absolutely must comply with this. Other websites might be a little less bound to the age restriction depending on how it works since they may not be collecting and distributing personal information.

    And as a web designer it's extra work to allow for anyone 12 and under by getting parental consent, so that may be a reason to simply not allow it-- the law doesn't restrict it, except that you'd need to consent for anyone under that age. If facebook and myspace don't allow an option for consent though there's no legal way for anyone under 13 to have a profile.


    The COPPA law is of course based on common sense. As bluewalrus noted, there are many reasons to think of privacy over the desire to have a social networking profile. In fact, I personally have objections to the concept in some ways, especially because nothing on facebook or myspace is actually as secure as anyone really thinks it is. And kids don't have the background to really understand the potential consequences of posting such information.

    Specifically regarding facebook's policy above, I'm a bit suspicious that it sounds like they are claiming their own personal reasons for it-- it just so happens that's a law, so my guess is that's just a friendly way to say "because it's a law [and we agree with it]"-- but that's not particularly on topic for this discussion.
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    Age limit is so stupid, my son is only 10 and got his own account.and he did it all by himself.

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    Well, there's nothing stopping your 10 year old son from drinking alcohol either-- but of course if anyone finds out (including you, I expect), they will try to stop him. It works the same way with his account-- if facebook or myspace (or whatever website) finds out that he is not 13, they are legally required to suspend his account, at least until explicit parental consent.
    I'm not sure why you say it is "stupid", or why you think that just because your son was capable of signing up it is wrong. (I'm also not defending the age limit, though I can certainly understand some of the reasoning behind it.)
    Daniel - Freelance Web Design | <?php?> | <html>| espa˝ol | Deutsch | italiano | portuguŕs | catalÓ | un peu de franšais | some knowledge of several other languages: I can sometimes help translate here on DD | Linguistics Forum

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    So it about works out to be PG-13. Younger kids can get in if they lie or are accompanied by (have explicit permission from) a parent.
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    My Granddaughters been using a computer since 4 yrs old and been going on the internet since 5. Always in my office and by my side. She's had her own website, just full of animals, for 4 years and it's never been a problem but now at 11 she has gone up to the Senior school and all her year have joined facebook. The teachers are aware and whilst not condoning it they don't stop it. They've given them strict rules and I'm impressed with my granddaughters knowledge but I'm worried that she's much more vulnerable than she or her parents think.

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    That's how the world works now: connect to people on the internet. That said, your reservations shouldn't be ignored. Just be careful and it will probably be fine. I recommend only allowing confirmed friends to view anything (except perhaps a name and photo so that others can find her and request to be friends) and even so not to put up any personal information-- no phone numbers, no addresses, no emails. Maybe an email address, but again only if only confirmed friends can view the page. (But remember that doesn't make it entirely secure-- if a friend's account is hacked, or shares a computer, or someone gets around the security of the site.)

    Edit: As an afterthought, one thing you can do is try to explain to her that people can see what she is posting. One way of doing this is to remind her that you can see what she posts. This will make her understand that it isn't just visible to her imagined audience.


    John, that's about right, the PG-13 comparison, except that PG-13 (and PG) aren't actually restrictions of any kind. They are just recommendations and anyone can go to those films. (I'm not sure how theaters would deal with very young children going to a film alone regardless of its rating, though.) G is for anyone (in theory); PG is a general warning to "think first" to parents; PG-13 is "probably best for 13 and over". However, R-rated films are restricted to 17 and over or parental permission-- that's the best analogy to the case here, except that it's 17, not 13. (And NC-17 films are the same as R, but without possible parental permission-- no one under 17 can go in, regardless.)
    Last edited by djr33; 03-28-2011 at 07:23 PM.
    Daniel - Freelance Web Design | <?php?> | <html>| espa˝ol | Deutsch | italiano | portuguŕs | catalÓ | un peu de franšais | some knowledge of several other languages: I can sometimes help translate here on DD | Linguistics Forum

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